I can’t even right now. These guys wrote the book on cleanliness. It’s like they are all the same person twelve times, doing the exact same moves in PERFECT synch.
I haven’t seen FAUJ or CMU’s sets yet but THIS IS AMAZING AND I LOVE IT AND JO-SHI-LEYYYYY wooo.
Putting it out there now.
My pick for the music category: Either Cal Bhangra or BK.
Live: Can’t say yet. I’m going to watch some more recent videos before I make an official pick.
So excited for this lineup though!
It has literally been forever since I’ve done one of these but the circuit is starting to heat up again so I’m trying to get back into the swing of it.
I wanted to do Tech first because I think it’s amazing how far this team is come in such a short time. Building a collegiate team is very hard and it’s great to see how they’ve managed to break into the competitive circuit and perform so well. I’m excited to see them keep improving.
This set started off really strongly. I liked their saap segment a lot. It was clean and folk and I think they made great use of the stage space. 1:29-1:39 before they picked up the saaps was really hype and I think it was a really cool way to work into the set. They had a lot of movement going on during this segment but it never looked too busy and I think it complemented the slower beat of the music really well. They ease up on the tempo during the first saap song but increased the formation work, which looks great.
Khunda segment was ok. I think that they tried to do too much from 3:19-3:26 and it ended up looking sloppy. The jumps and turns weren’t quite synchronized and it just didn’t quite work. While I was watching this segment, I couldn’t help but feel it was off, especially the second song. Then I got it: VCU used this same song in a different arrangement for their khunda segment at Burgh 4. They won first with it and which I like what Tech was trying achieve with the segment, it wasn’t a great idea to use the same song as previous winners, on the same stage, for the same segment, especially if you can’t nail it. It was a good idea but this part still needs cleaning.
The next part was also iffy but then it got much better starting around 4:19. This segment looked good. It was creative and folk and they continued to use the stage well. I really liked the part when they got into a live segment! The idea is fresh and I loved seeing it. They looked very synchronized during this part and I think it looked really nice. They handled the tempo changes like pros and I was very pleasantly surprised to see them pull it off.
Next music segment was also good. They kept the energy consistent and carried it smoothly to the end. The jumps at the end weren’t perfect but it was still a good ending.
Overall, I liked several things about Tech. They keep their energy consistent and never “die” during the set. They don’t have any “WOW” energy moments but they looked very at ease and in control of their set. Consistency over hype in this case and it worked for them. They generally have good form and are synchronized and make excellent use of the space they have.
A few things also need some work. I think the mix did a terrible disservice to the set. The tempo never really varied and even though the choreo was good, the set felt repetitive and at times didn’t seem to be “going” anywhere. I think they have good ideas for choreo, but they assembled the steps in way that didn’t make sense sometimes. It was hard to divide this set into “segments” because I don’t think whoever was choreographing/making the mix had a solid idea of how to “make a segment”. It may have been a deliberate experiment to try and break it up, but I think rearranging the choreo to form more traditional “blocks” with notable changes in music for each segment would have really highlighted how talented these guys are.
I think that, as a team, Tech has done a fantastic job. They’re clean and together and they look good dancing. The choreo and masterminding needs some practice but I think this was a solid performance for a team that hasn’t done a ton of competing at the highest levels of the circuit. I think this team is solid as far as talent goes and I think that with a little more practice and “oomph”, they can really get far.
New school year, new team, new leadership, the works.
Yesterday was the first day of bhangra tryouts and I have to say they’re going pretty well. I like the choreo the new captains have come up and all of the people trying out seem to be catching on quickly and working really hard. I have some form issues with the way they’re teaching the choreography, but they’re the captains so we’re going to be doing it their way even if it’s technically not correct (palms up vs. out, knee up or tucked, minor things like that, etc.). I’m not about causing trouble so I’ll bite my tongue and just go with it.
My only beef is that all of the returning dancers also have to try out again. I can see that being somewhat reasonable if we had a huge influx of amazing dancers that could, in theory, displace all of the old dancers, but that simply is not the case. Even if it were, you don’t have to try out for sports teams multiple times or get re-accepted to dance teams or companies. As long as you’ve pulled your weight in the time you’ve been dancing, you shouldn’t have to waste however many nights of your life learning two minutes of choreography at a snail’s pace. And if you’re going to insist on it, I think you should at least give your dancers a few days notice rather than being like “LOL JK you all have to be here tonight and try out”. But again, I’m not about causing trouble this year. Some of the other vets were more annoyed than I was but I don’t want to add fuel to the fire. I might be “the ousted captain”, but they think they’re going to use me to cause trouble and be a mouthpiece for their complaints, they can go suck it. I’m not going to put my ass on the line for people who couldn’t come through for me when I needed them. Now it’s time to nut up and just lower your head and accept your captain’s decisions even if you don’t agree with them. We can’t all be in charge.
In any case, yesterday wasn’t terrible. I think people expected me to be pissy and difficult and generally act like a little bitch and pout when given instruction, but I didn’t. I came back because I wanted to. No one forced me and I am not going to come back only to be a dividing force on the team. Like them or not (and I mostly do), the captains are elected and you need to put up with it. If I have a problem with the leadership of the team (which at this point I don’t), I can bring it up peacefully or leave, but not stick around and cause problems. As long as they treat me fairly, I’m not going to be a thorn in their sides.
Fingers crossed that everyone is coming in this year trying to keep the peace. Everything works so much better when everyone is just chill and doesn’t take everything too personally. For now, it’s all going fine, but then again, we’re only one day in. Hopefully we get a good crowd this year and we don’t have any lineup disputes. Can’t say I’m too optimistic about a drama free, smoothly run semester, but I can still hope!
Going to be doing a few reviews of BAB videos in the next few days so be on the lookout for those.
Just watched the SGPD BAB video. Not great quality so I can’t really review the routine until I have something better to work with, but it feels awesome to get back into the bhangra vibe after the off-season. Competition season is coming up and you all should be prepared to be flooded with reviews and videos.
Hey! Thanks for the questions.
Not gonna lie, it is really tough to deal with un-inviting desis. Most people will not outwardly reject me or make an issue out of the fact that I’m white, but a few do. It’s really hurtful and it still really bothers me but what can I do? In the end, I do bhangra because I love it. The feeling it evokes in me is something I’ve never found in anything else and I live for that high. People can like it or they can dislike it, but ultimately, it just doesn’t matter to me. They can’t stop me from doing it so they can just suck it.
As far as people telling me I’m “good for a white girl”, most of the time I think people just don’t realize that it’s a rude-ish compliment. They’re really trying to be nice and I just take it for what it is. If I think someone is being pejorative and trying to be sly about it, I’ll just be a cocky little bitch and be like, “I’m good in general.” One time I called a guy out and challenged him to dance with me. Let’s just say I took him to school. I know I’m good and if someone wants to play the race game with me they’re in for a wake up call. I’m not embarrassed of being white and I certainly think there are much better dancers out there, but not because they’re Indian and I’m not. Again, it’s completely irrelevant to me what anyone thinks about my Gori Girl status. I love it and that’s what matters.
As far as bhangra goes, I didn’t receive much formal instruction. The first few steps I ever learned were taught to me by the wonderful, beautiful Sanam. I still sucked back then but I wanted to get better so I just started watching a ton of videos of teams I liked and tried to learn their steps in front of a mirror. I tried out for my college team, which wasn’t very selective, but I was still shocked when I made it. My captains taught my a lot about form and choreography. Honestly, they are two of the people I owe the most to in my life. They’ll never know how much they helped me. Still, I would say that more than half of all of my bhangra skill has come from practicing on my own in front of a mirror or with friends. If you watch good bhangra and really observe their technique and form and try to replicate it, I guarantee you will get better.
Not sure where you live but if it’s in an area with a large Punjabi community (like Surrey or DC), there are academies out there that teach bhangra. Some of the ones I can think of off the top of my head are Apna Virsa Academy (AVA) and DC Metro Punjabi Arts Academy (DCMPAA). Hope that helps!
In all honesty, I love watching Bhangra Empire perform. I am typically a fan of more traditional bhangra like JJs, but Bhangra Empire is seriously something else in terms of pure entertainment. They’re not traditional and they do make mistakes, but somehow, their performances always seem supercharged to me. I’m always excited to see them and when I do, I know why I love bhangra. Ultimately, I think they’ve been incredibly successful because they’ve managed to make at least one person that way. They’re not Elite 8 and they’re not Folk, but they are some of the best entertainers out there and I am really down with that.
Also, I don’t know where the bhangra community would be if it weren’t for Harjot Singh Hundal and GabrooTV. I think we often take for granted having AMAZING, high quality bhangra videos of just about every competition available to us, for free, on the internet. It must be a big sacrifice and not easy work, but it has made bhangra so much more accessible to people who don’t get the chance to watch it often. GTV videos have had a really profound impact on my development as a dancer and as a “consumer” of bhangra, so I definitely think a “Thank you” is in order and long overdue.
I don’t think I’ve ever written about how much I like TerraPind Bhangra, the collegiate team from the University of Maryland. Seriously, they are such a young team but they have accomplished so much and are really going places FAST. I have nothing but respect for these guys (the fact that I know a few of them personally doesn’t hurt), but seriously, you guys know that I wouldn’t dole out praise just because I’m friends with people. I really like this team and I really want to see them go FAR FAR FAR!
My next review, which should be out no later than next Wednesday (9th), is going to be TerraPind Bhangra @ PAO Bhangra XI. Get excited!